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Isolation of equine endothelial cells and life cell angiogenesis assay


Arterial or venous thromboses are frequent clinical complications with the risk of fatal progression. Recent studies suggest the disruption of angiogenesis in the course of thrombus resolution as the underlying pathomechanism. Very similar to the situation in human patients, equine vessels have been described to be particularly susceptible to thrombosis. In contrast to humans, equine donors are readily available to obtain organs and tissues for isolation of endothelial cells. Objective of this study was to isolate equine endothelial cells and develop an angiogenesis assay from primary cultures. Macrovascular endothelial cells were obtained from jugular veins and carotid arteries of nine horses, one of which suffered from inflammatory processes. After enzymatic isolation, the cells were incubated in different selective primary media. Phenotypic identification of endothelial cells was accomplished by morphology and positive staining to von Willebrand factor. The reliable, inexpensive, and standardized combination of methods presented here resulted in pure endothelial cultures for angiogenesis assays that can be used in any cell culture laboratory. Inverted phase microscopy and life cell imaging was used to characterize the stages of the angiogenic cascade of the endothelial cells. Life cell imaging gave new insights into the in vitro formation of capillary like structures including exocytosis of microparticles from endothelial cells before integration into the three-dimensional structure. We hypothesize that a specific population of endothelial cells showing a highly active migration pattern in life cell imaging might play a role in the resolution of thrombosis.